Tripura’s ruling BJP has emerged victorious in 96 per cent seats of the three-tier gram panchayat bodies without contest, amid allegations of violence from opposition CPM and Congress.
The opposition parties want the poll process to be deferred and rescheduled, giving enough time to them for filing nomination papers. However, the State Election Commission has denied any such possibility.
State Election Commissioner G Kameshwara Rao told reporters on Tuesday that by-elections in 3,207 seats of gram panchayats, 161 panchayat samiti seats and 18 seats of zilla parishads were announced on September 1. More than 96 per cent of these seats went uncontested and BJP won these seats. Only 132 gram panchayat seats are now open to by-elections along with 7 seats of panchayat samiti.
All seats of zilla parishad were won uncontested.
Following allegations by CPM and Congress of large-scale violence by BJP supporters, Rao said there was no “scope” of deferring or postponing the by-elections. He also rubbished allegations of violence and said that no complaint was filed against any returning officer engaged in the poll process.
“September 11 was the last date of filing nomination papers while scrutiny of submitted nominations was done on September 14. After withdrawal of nomination papers, 296 candidates are now in the fray across 132 seats of different gram panchayat bodies,” Rao said.
He also said the authorities were not aware of any complaint against Block Development Officers, who are acting as Returning Officers. District Magistrates function as RO for Zilla Parishad polls. There is no complaint against police personnel either, he added.
Earlier this month, the CPM said they were able to submit nomination papers in only eight of 35 blocks of the state that will witness by-elections on September 30.
Ruling alliance partner IPFT and opposition Congress also made similar allegations and demanded that the poll process be deferred. Later, the BJP and IPFT reached an agreement and formed a 14-member coordination committee to quell differences among themselves.
The CPM is trying to infiltrate the ruling parties, which caused the “confusion” and led to clashes, coordination committee chairperson and Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Devvarma said.